Carpal tunnel is a condition which causes burning, tingling, and numbness in the hands and is caused by compression of the nerve inside the wrist. Up to 25% of all pregnant women experience carpal tunnel. In 80 percent of women symptoms are bilateral, occurring in both arms.
Fluid retention, swelling, and weight gain during pregnancy can compress the median nerve in your arm and wrist. Symptoms almost always go away after childbirth.
It is a little known fact that carpal tunnel like symptoms can also be caused by the scalene muscles in the front and sides of the neck. Poor posture, rounded shoulders and increased breast weight during pregnancy can contribute to this problem.
Preventing Carpal Tunnel Pain
- Try wearing a wrist splint during activities that make symptoms worse.
- Elevate your arms and hands frequently.Soak your wrists in warm water
- If you work at a computer or do repetitive motion, take frequent breaks.
- Stretch your wrists by flexing your wrist and hand.
- Stretch your shoulders back. An excellent stretch is to stand in a narrow doorway, put your arms out at shoulder height with your elbows bent at 90 degrees. Rest the inside of your forearm from your elbow to your wrist on the doorjamb. With one leg in front of the other ( like in a calf stretch) gently lean through the doorway.
- Be sure you are getting adequate B vitamins. People who get adequate vitamin B6 may be less likely to develop carpal tunnel.